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Govt, opposition to meet today: Bargaining efforts on for NAB, FATF, NFC Award

Top Story

July 27, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government will discuss with the opposition today (Monday) issues related to amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws, action plan of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

The main challenge during the talks will be to reach a consensus on the powers of the NAB. The government has withdrawn its proposal for seeking an extension in the tenure of the NAB chairman, deputy chairman and its prosecutor general. It was part of the proposal being mooted by the government in the 24-member Parliamentary Committee headed by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The committee is supposed to take up nine drafts of legislation, mostly related to the FATF framework. The opposition members of the committee have conveyed to the government that no proposal pertaining to the provision of reappointment of the NAB chairman, who served for one term, would be discussed or considered. Former prime minister and leader of PML-N Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has confirmed to The News that the government has withdrawn the clause in question in its proposal regarding NAB. The meeting of the committee will be held today in the Parliament House.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who attended the PML-N high echelon meeting in Lahore on Sunday, said that the opposition would not hinder the adoption of the legislation required for the FATF, but no law repugnant to the basic human rights and civil liberties would be supported by the opposition and it would not allow getting through in either House.

The former prime minister made it clear that the apex court has exposed the NAB in the bail case of Khawaja brothers. He said the legislation regarding NAB should be made in the light of the observations of the learned court. He said the opposition will talk to the government with open mind so that legislation process should proceed ahead required by the national interest.

The government earlier had proposed amendments to the NAB contain clauses which seek to remove the “non-extendability” of the appointment of its chairman, deputy chairman and the prosecutor general.

To a query, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi made it clear that no agreement would be made in undue haste since the whole exercise will take some time to complete. He said e=ach word of the legislation would threadbare analyzed. However, he reminded that the FATF-related legislation has to be done before August 03 and it’s up to the government to avoid any unnecessary delay.

Meanwhile, Punjab governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar said Prime Minister Imran Khan has saved Pakistan from becoming bankrupt.

Talking to party workers in Lahore, he said a transparent and indiscriminate accountability has become mandatory to tackle the economic crisis. He said the incumbent government believes in rule of law and Constitution instead of political victimisation.